Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, South Africa, 1-4 July, 2007.
This paper presents a research strategy aimed towards understanding transient two-phase flow in compact low temperature equipment, with emphasis on heat exchangers. The strategy is based on the hypothesis that to meet the many two-phase challenges occurring in compact process equipment, detailed knowledge about basic flow phenomena is needed. To provide this knowledge, a relevant computer simulation model and experimental setups are under development. The computer model is based on the level-set method, which is suitable for detailed two-phase flow calculations, and which has been shown to be able to reproduce flow phenomena observed in small channels. Two experimental setups are presented, one for measuring details regarding flow topology, such as film behaviour, droplet tear-off, droplet-droplet and droplet-film interaction, and a second for measuring integral quantities like pressure drop and heat transfer during condensation of natural gas mixtures in microtubes. The tubes range from 0.25–1 mm in diameter and the experiments will be performed at low temperatures. This setup will provide data to design compact heat exchangers.